Three Poems

Proposition: The limits of our social imaginaries mean the limits of our worlds


Perhaps new forms of being require new forms of relationship


1.1 What is being anyway but gesturing towards an indefinite assembly of unknowable qualities & quantities


1.2 Categories of being are obstructive & injurious both to those who touch the social imaginary & those who don’t


1.3 Categories of literature are obstructive & injurious both to those who read it & those who write it


1.4 Concepts like ‘genre’ & ‘style’ are made-up words


1.5 Concepts like ‘female’ & ‘male’ are made-up words


1.6 New forms of being require new forms of thought, such as “that the distinctions between the beautiful and ugly, if made at all, [be] made arbitrarily”[1]


1.7 I have finally been turned on in the sense that “[i]f one of my works were to be turned on it would destroy itself”[2]


1.8 Perhaps the attempt to acquire reality through anti-illustrational action is the only meaningful endeavour


1.9 Francis Bacon says of Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait (c.1659):


If you analyse it, you will see that there are hardly any sockets to the eyes, that it is almost completely anti-illustrational. I think that the mystery of fact is conveyed by an image being made out of non-rational marks.[3]


1.10 Perhaps belief in the necessity of sacrifice is the utmost achievement for all people at all times


 1.11 Gabrielle Civil says:


Art of all kinds is not just the practice of making, it’s the practice of being in the world a certain way. It’s a certain susceptibility, and it’s also sacrifice – the offering up of everything with only a few strings attached.[4]


1.12 Perhaps being arrives through a sustained engagement with the act of thinking as embodied practice


1.13 If being requires a theatre of the social imaginary do we, the audience, bear responsibility for being’s staging


1.14 If gender is a “variable cultural interpretation of sex” perhaps our facility to intervene in gender’s [being’s] context(s) is likewise mutable & indefinite[5]


1.15 What is the difference between you & the thing that eats you – is it the fact only one of you will survive


1.16 If “[i]rony is merely the condom of our culture” does it follow culture is a socially imagined penis[6]




Proposition: If there is a thing to salvage from desire it is that which is held by the body which is not of the body



1. My dreams are so full of her disgusting eros I could weep


1.1 If ‘I’ asks for ‘too much’ does it follow my hunger is disproportionate & ‘I’ ought to be starved of love


1.2 Perhaps all desire is temporary


1.3 Proposition: The difference between fucking a man & fucking a woman is such that the two can’t reasonably be compared


1.4 Counter-proposition: What is fucking anyway but a disembodied apparatus


1.5 ‘Literature’ has no ‘inner’ life – only words & the absence of words


 1.6 It follows ‘literature’ is an environment we build for our ‘selves’ with the found materials of language


1.7 I can live without her letters, her smell, her voice – but living without her body is what hurts


1.8 Perhaps desire is that which can neither be traced nor imitated


1.9 If ‘I’ is not ‘my own’, to whom does ‘I’ belong


1.10 If procedures of thought are forms of social action does it follow we can think our ‘selves’ to the other side


1.11 Personal problems are political problems. There are no personal solutions at this time. There is only collective action for a collective solution.[7]


1.12 What might be said of literature might likewise be said of ‘selves’


1.13 I am waiting for this performance to end since I am afraid of what harm I might inflict


1.14 All desire compels self-debasement


1.15 If language is a sieve perhaps ‘I’ is also a sieve


1.16 Belief in the disintegration of principles is essential since you are [are you not] a disintegrating principle




Proposition: If there is to be a revolution in human relations it will begin with free, ambiguous & multiple sexualities which refuse known groupings



1. Revolutionary action begins in the bedroom: fucking is a politic with the real & imaginary lights on


1.1 Don’t ask what your genitals can do for you – ask, rather, what you can do for your genitals


1.2 The imago of this revolution will be a personal symbol


1.3 I choose triple genitals: that way I might satisfy three people at once, or myself plus one other


1.4 Orgasm is a lonely business & a near-annihilation: feeling arrives like an incontestable imperative merely


1.5 What is fucking but a yearning for non-being


1.6 To be neither / nor one must be prepared for near-annihilation at any moment – this is essential if [we] are to turn from the ‘proper’ art of signifying


1.7 No one who has touched the centre of my being has fucked me 


1.8 Perhaps ‘propriety’ is a dirty word


1.9 Yes “one of the terrible things about so-called love […] is the destruction” & yet the destruction is one of the beautiful things about so-called love.[8]


1.10 I get so tired of the social contract shout no / no / no & the violence I gave you [which was love] was not returned but that’s what I need your violence & / or a being who might change from girl to boy at any given moment a very un / stuck being but still I find the heart leaping on its springs a desperately avant-garde joy


1.11 Prefer not to say is increasingly my tick box of choice; increasingly I spend time not saying [which has its charm] but not saying [I fear] is a rather abandoned & / or outflung position


1.12 Perhaps the focus on genital is counterproductive since is that not a specious form of reasoning


1.13 I think enjoyment of a cunt is its taste is to enter it fully & completely but is this enjoyment of a woman


1.14 What must it be like carrying all of that you around not knowing what it means


1.15 If drogyny were less a corporeal state & more a temporary location where would that leave us


1.16 Revolutionary action begins with outflungness & ends with outflungness: self-abandonment is all we really have






[1] Ader, B.J., Please Don’t Leave Me (Rotterdam: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, 2006) p. 151

[2] Koons, J., Tate Resource Pack, p. 6

[3] Bacon, F., Interviews with Francis Bacon: David Sylvester (London: Thames and Hudson, 1975) p. 58

[4] Civil, G., Swallow the Fish: A Memoir in Performance Art (Virginia: Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2017) p. 26

[5] Butler, J., ‘Sex and Gender in Simone de Beauvoir’s Second Sex’ in Yale French Studies, No. 72 (1986) pp. 35-49, p. 36

[6] Hughes, R., Frank Auerbach (London: Thames & Hudson, 1996) p. 9

[7] Hanisch, C., ‘The Personal is Political’ (1969)

[8] Bacon, F., quoted by Gilles Néret in Twentieth-Century Erotic Art (Koln: Taschen, 1993) p.133


 won a Northern Writers’ Award (2016) and recently completed a PhD at Aberystwyth University. Her first book of poetry, Oedipa, will be published by Guillemot Press in 2018. You can find out more about Amy’s work here:



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